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Nos 601 to 610
Ignaz Moscheles
Classical History
The Battle of Salamis
Defeat for the Greeks would have changed the course of Western civilization.

IN the late summer of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek states suffered a humiliating reverse at Thermopylae, emboldening the Persian Emperor Xerxes in his invasion of Greece.

But Themistocles refused to abandon hope.

With what remained of the Greek fleet, the sly general lured the Persians into the cramped confines of the Straits of Salamis.

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No. 601
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
In the Nick of Time
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.

AN African boy named Thomas Lewis was snatched at night by two boatmen working for Robert Stapylton, a wealthy plantation-owner from Chelsea. Thomas was gagged with a stick, tied up, and put aboard a ship bound for Jamaica.

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No. 602
William Herschel
Modern History
Somersett’s Case
James Somersett’s new Christian family used every available means to keep him from slavery.

WHEN Charles Stewart, a customs officer, was in Boston (at that time a town in Massachusetts Bay, a British Crown Colony in America) he purchased an African slave named James Somersett, and brought him back to England. There the young man escaped.

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No. 603
Charles H. Ross
King George III (1760-1820)
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!
(That’s cat-tails, obviously.) And who ever said cats were unpredictable?
By Charles H. Ross
(1835-1897)

ONE broiling hot summer’s day Charles James Fox and the Prince of Wales were lounging up St. James’s street, and Fox laid the Prince a wager that he would see more Cats than his Royal Highness would during their promenade, although the Prince might choose which side of the street he thought fit.

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No. 604
Lives of the Saints
St Hild and the Synod of Whitby
The respected Abbess oversaw the English Church’s historic commitment to adopt Byzantine traditions.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

HILD was the Abbess of a monastery for both men and women in Whitby, on the north east coast of England. “All who knew her”, says St Bede, “called her mother, because of her outstanding devotion and grace”.

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No. 605
Modern History
The Persistence of Thomas Clarkson
Today, the slave trade is a £150bn global business. Back in the late 18th century, it was making a lot of influential people very rich too, but some in England were determined to stop it.

THOMAS Clarkson was assured that all slaves were actually prisoners of war, and that if they were not sold into slavery they would be killed.

Of course, Clarkson knew that free people were being hunted down and enslaved. But he needed a witness to prove it.

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No. 606
Frederic Hymen Cowen
Lives of the Saints
The Martyrdom of St James the Great
James, brother of John the Evangelist, was executed for his faith by a close friend of the Emperor Caligula.

HEROD Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, was a powerful Jewish king in Judaea and Galilee. He had inherited his lands from his disgraced uncle, Herod Antipas, and enjoyed the favour of the Roman Emperor Caligula and - to a lesser extent - Caligula’s successor Claudius.

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No. 607
Cornelius Tacitus
The Battle of Ynys Mon
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)

IN Suetonius’s opinion, the chief threat to Roman rule in Britain came from the Welsh tribes and the Druids. He would discover that this was a mistake, but in the meantime, he bent his attention on the Island of Mona, just off the Welsh coast, which had become their stronghold.

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No. 608
Seneca the Younger
Keep away from the Games!
The wise old philosopher had learnt that popular entertainments rot the soul.
From ‘Letters to Lucilius’ by Seneca the Younger
(?4BC-?AD65)

I HAPPENED to drop in at the midday games, expecting a bit of fun and wit and something relaxing for eyes that needed a break from human cruelty. What I got was the opposite.

The fighting that went before was miserable enough; now they dropped all sporting pretence, and it was straightforward murder.

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No. 609
Classical History
The Speech of King Caratacus
A proud British king, taken to Rome as a trophy of Empire, refused to plead for his life.
By Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)

“HAD my moderation in prosperity been equal to my noble birth and fortune, I should have entered this city as your friend rather than as your captive; and you would not have disdained to receive, under a treaty of peace, a king descended from illustrious ancestors and ruling many nations.

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No. 610
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 2018
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
From our Archive
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens chastises those who alter the plots of classic tales to push some social agenda of their own.
Today, the slave trade is a £150bn global business. Back in the late 18th century, it was making a lot of influential people very rich too, but some in England were determined to stop it.
Scotland’s association with the brother of Peter is down to an early 8th century Bishop of Hexham.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Benjamin Disraeli did not make a promising start to his Parliamentary career - but he did start with a promise.

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History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (111)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (23)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Wide’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘a brilliant solo passage in a concerto’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. lion, tiger’ (3,3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.